Wednesday, 21 June 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
109. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the current position in regard to the former Army apprenticeship school at Devoy Barracks, Naas, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17756/00]
Minister for Defence (Mr. M. Smith): There were only 28 apprentices at the Army Apprentice School in Devoy Barracks, Naas, at the time of closure of that barracks. Of these, 18 attended the Dublin Institute of Technology for the purpose of completing their final 'off the job' training module which consisted of ten weeks. These 18 apprentices were variously training as motor mechanics, carpenters and electricians. They commenced their attendance at Dublin Institute of Technology in late January 1999 and completed it at the end of March 1999.
 The remaining ten apprentices, who are training in electronics-communications, are located in the School of Signals on the Curragh. They will complete their technical training in the middle of the year 2001.
When the closure of the Army Apprentice School was announced, I gave an undertaking that every apprentice would be given the opportunity to complete their training. I am informed by the military authorities that the new arrangements with Dublin Institute of Technology worked very satisfactorily and that the standard of instruction provided was excellent. As promised, all of the Army apprentices either have already completed, or are continuing on to complete, their apprenticeships.
It is envisaged that, in future, Army apprentices will attend at FÁS, Dublin Institute of Technology and/or regional technical college courses for their formal “off the job” training. This type of format for training is already the long established situation with all Naval Service apprentices. The distinct apprenticeship needs of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps are all kept under regular review. Apprentices will continue to be recruited to the various branches of the Defence Forces, for specific trades and crafts, as and when required, in response to identified service needs. There are no proposals on hand from the military authorities for the open recruitment of further apprentices to the Army at the present time.
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